Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Civil War in Iraq

That's right, I said it. Iraq is currently in a state of civil war.

It is clear and demonstrable on a daily basis. The only people trying to deny it are those in Washington who have a vested interest in trying to avoid the issue and trying to color it differently. But they are kidding themselves. It is certainly clear enough to the troops in Iraq fighting in this war that it has become a civil war. Eventually it will become so painfully obvious to the entire world, that
politicians will seem dense and self-serving in retrospect if they don't acknowledge it for what it is and act accordingly.

It is a civil war and we are right in the middle of it. We need to pull out now. We have already been in this war for 40 months. That's longer than most other large wars we've been in in history. We did have some success early. We succeeded in bringing down the Iraqi armed forces and neutralizing any potential threat that they might have posed under the rule of Saddam Hussein. We also succeeded in bringing down Saddam Hussein and bringing him to an international court of justice. But we have failed to rebuild the country as a thriving intact nation under it's own democratic rule. Instead, by removing Saddam's iron fist that kept everything together through heavy-handed and cruel tactics, we have allowed the inner tensions and struggles for power to spin up and out of control. It is a full-force F5 tornado now. We cannot fight this by shooting our guns into the wind. We cannot fix this.

There is no longer any hope of overcoming the sectarian violence and hatred and mistrust, and struggles for power within the country. So any more time, energy, resources and money spent there is wasted. More importantly, any more lives spent there now are lives wasted since they do not contribute to the cause anymore. Also, the longer we stay, the more enemies we create, and the more reasons for them to mount terrorist attacks against us on our own soil. This war is simply not 'winnable'. And it's not 'endable' either. Time to go.

You don't agree that it is a civil war? Let's examine it from the position of the soldiers actually over there fighting this war right now.

According to various recent articles in various papers, army troops in and around the capital cite a long list of evidence that the nation is unravelling: Sunni villages have been abandoned after threats from Shiites, Shiite villages have been abandoned after threats from Sunnis. Sunni insurgents have killed thousands of Shiites in car bombings and assassinations; Shiite militia death squads have tortured and killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Sunnis; and when night falls, neighborhoods are lit up with gunfire as they become battlegrounds of one side against the other. One Shiite town was emptied in a day after a barrage of notes on small pieces of paper arrived telling them that their entire families would be killed if they stayed.

Brian Johnson is a 24 year old 4th Infantry Division platoon leader. "There's one street that's the dividing line. They shoot mortars across the line and abduct people back and forth," He was describing the nightly violence of Sunni gunmen from Baghdad's Ghazaliyah neighborhood against Shiite gunmen from the nearby Shula district.

And the Iraqi people themselves are now saying that this is a civil war. Col. Ahmed is an adviser to the commander of the Iraq Army's 6th division. "This is a civil war." he said. "The problem between Sunnis and Shiites is a religious one, and it gets worse every time they attack each other's mosques,"

This is no longer simply about the Iraqi people hating the Americans for interfering in their country and their lives. Their attention is now on each other. We need to get out 'while the gittin's good'.

Economically, America tends to go to war during a bad economic cycle because a recession is eased by the trickle-down effects of the massive government spending that accompanies a war. But that need is over now. The economy has recovered. We are now spending over 7 billion dollars per month wastefully, and we are spending our way deeper and deeper into a debt we may not ever earn ourselves out of.

So far, the war in Iraq has cost us $301,613,987,713

The above is a quote from a website at http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182.

This is a website dedicated to calculating the current cost of the war in Iraq. The number increases constantly. It was hard to get this copy image to paste because the number is changing so fast. $300 billion dollars so far. Well, that is pretty expensive. And it only goes up from there every second. We are definitely not getting our money's worth in any sense. Even if the goal was, as some cynics suggest, to capture and control the oil supply from Iraq in order to keep costs controllable back in the US, frankly the potential savings from doing that were long-ago wiped out by the direct costs of fighting this war. So even the most cynical of critics cannot fathom some true reason for going to war and maintaining it this long. None of the scenarios that anyone can think of can explain it. It's just become a bad idea on every possible level.

I can easily imagine that the current administration would think they will lose face if they give up and go home now. They might think they will look like failures. Too late. That ship has sailed. Perhaps they think that if they hold on long enough, eventually this will sort itself out and then they can claim credit for solving it. Sorry, this is a religious war that has it's roots in a conflict that started 3,000 years ago. The American military cannot solve it. They could possibly mask it for a temporary period by having the iron fist of totalitarianism and dictatorship - as Saddam did. But then we would become as bad as he was, and that is equally unacceptible.

So the only only reasonable, practical, and even politically acceptable path is to admit that the events in Iraq have grown beyond our ability to provide help and succor and then politely leave as quickly as humanly possible, covering our backside and smiling all the way out.

For a while, when the American people starting to demand that the troops be brought home, the president was making the point that if we stopped fighting them on their turf, then that would allow them to grow strong enough for them to build up a force and come and fight us on our turf.
Well, that may have had some validity at some point but not any longer. Our continued presence there is a sharp stick in the eye for the Iraqis and all Muslims in the middle east. By leaving, we can reduce the irritation and allow them to start to forget us and our interference. Besides, now they have another enemy to focus on. Each other. Our troops and Iraqi troops have both said repeated lately that this is now a civil war. The fighting is no longer terrorist attacks against Americans. It has coalesced into two sides fighting each other for control of the country and it's resources. The dividing line is the line between Sunni and Shiite.

In a civil war like this, what can the American role possibly be? Would we supply arms to both sides to fight each other? In helping them each fight the other would we then have Americans fighting Americans? Or would we back one side against the other? And which side would be back? And would that then encourage other countries to back the other side? Wouldn't that then threaten to extend the war into other areas and a larger, more international forum? Would this then intersect with the contours of the war happening right now between Israel and the Hezbollah in Lebanon? Can anyone besides me see the potential to exacerbate both conflicts into a potential World War III?

No. We must get out, and get out now. While the fog of war hangs over the battle between the two warring factions, it is time to fold our tents, pack up our weapons, hitch the trailers to the jeeps, load up the ships and sail home.

Besides, looking at North Korea, Iran, Syria, and a few others, it appears there may be other who would like to attack America or American interests, and we are going to need to save our strength and collect and replenish our resources for that possible battle.

2 Comments:

At 8/06/2006 5:20 PM, Anonymous igor said...

.
Could a civil war be contageous?
Could North America get it's own internal civil war from "staying the course" in both Iraq and Arab-Israeli conflicts ?

... I recently noticed: a right US blogger called US liberals "non-humans".

Non-humans ?????? !!!!!!

Am I the only one to whom this "rings the bell" ? Is the history of 3rd Reich already forgotten ?

 
At 8/06/2006 6:45 PM, Blogger Val Serrie said...

I am both amazed and disgusted with that - a right wing American calling a Liberal American a non-human.

There are always wackos on both sides, but I don't think I can remember a time when Americans were so polarized between parties, and also so far to the right.

I regularly hear people here voicing opinions that we should just wipe out all Muslims. Nuke the whole middle East and start again. I don't think they seriously mean that, but what a monstrous thing to say or even think - even if it's just kidding, or just nonsense said in anger. It shows the mindset.

It is a pretty scary time here in this country at the moment. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, and the pendulum will swing back toward the center.

v

 

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